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Why kola nut is highly celebrated in Igboland

In Igboland, the Kola nut is highly revered.

Kolanuts

It is so important that no marriage ceremony, coronation, festivals, or any other occasion is done without the presence of kola nut.

The kola nut is not only present, but it is used to perform some rituals in these occasions which includes, presenting to guests, saying some prayers, etc. It begs to wonder why the Igbos hold this fruit in such high esteem.

The 'oji Igbo' which is the species of kola nut used by the Igbos is seen as sacred as it symbolizes peace, love, unity, reconciliation, integrity, life, fraternity, goodwill and kindness in Igboland. Kola nut in Igboland is also seen as an object of ritual and a means of communing with God and the ancestors.

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The Igbos also believe that with a kola nut, you can say whatever you want to happen and it will come to pass. When presented to guests, the kolanut is seen as a symbol of hospitality. Not just any kolanut is used in Igboland. It is believed that the infected one won't be accepted by the deities when used to pray.

In some places, the kola nut is first broken into lobes before prayers are said. After it is broken, a lobe of it is given to the oldest person in attendance to say prayers with it. In places like Owerri, the youngest person breaks the kola nut after the prayer is said.

This prayer must be in Igbo language as it is believed that the ancestors do not understand a foreign language.

On occasions like these, women are not allowed to break the kola nut and or even pick it up from the plate as it is forbidden. Women are also not allowed to climb, plant or pluck from a Kola tree.

Some places also forbid people from breaking the kola nut in the presence of their in-laws as it is seen as a sign of disrespect. After the prayers for the kola nut are said, it is shared according to seniority.

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The lobes of a kolanut are also highly significant. A custodian of Igbo tradition, Prof. Damian Opata once described three lobes to mean equality and justice. Four lobes in a kola nut are said to represent the four market days in Igbo society - Afor, Nkwo, Eke and Orie.

Kola nuts with five lobes are seen as a symbol of fertility and wealth and the ones with as high as seven lobes, which are very scarce, are regarded as highly spiritual.

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